Now I don't want to get off on a rant here, but, these days, truth in media has been pushed further into the backseat than loose change during a shuttle launch.
I think it's a problem that you can't watch the nightly news without longing for the relative intellectual integrity of those thought bubbles on "Blind Date."
If you're looking for empirical truth on TV, you're watching the wrong kinescope. TV news wants you entertained first, informed maybe. There's more useless eye candy in te n seconds of Headline News than in 24 hours of the Cartoon Network. And don't try to argue that all that shit on the screen is information I need to know. Nobody cares about the temperature in Bozeman, not even the people in Bozeman. That's why they've moved to Bozeman: they've given up.
Look, the truth is that in cost conscious, bottom line America all the major news organizations have been removing key positions like they were editing an Iranian edition of the Kama Sutra. Instead of reporters on the scene gathering facts, what we're left with is an overstuffed, oxygen starved fish farm of opened mouth trout swimming in circles with absolutely no idea what they're talking about. The other night MSNBC had a leading authority on Al Qaeda and it turned out his only credential was that his name was "Al Qaeda."
In today's information economy, the old journalistic mandate of "Get it fast, first, and right" has been downsized to just getting it fast and first. Today's idea of an "investigativ e report" is one they remembered to run a spell-check on. And the line between fact and opinion gets stepped on more frequently than the feet of a circus clown slow-dancing with a scuba diver.
Also I don't trust anything said by a news anchor who doesn't have a believable hairpiece. How am I supposed to take seriously any guy with hair that makes the molded plastic thatch on a G.I. Joe's head look natural? Why should I believe his mouth when his scalp is screaming "liar"? (ANCHOR VOICE:) "This just on..."
And nothing is more skewed than local news during sweeps. The I-Team takes their hidden cameras down to any business that doesn't advertise with the station to ferret out the potential dangers to the consumer. You never see them do a story on used car salesmen because they pump in too much ad revenue. Instead they storm the barely English speaking mechanic who is trying to feed his eight kids , who charged the undercover reporter with a forty-thousand dollar surveillance briefcase an extra nickel for a sparkplug. And it's all hyped with overly dramatic upcoming-story teasers that sound like Adam West reading "War Of The Worlds" to the blind.
Look, we know each of our major newspapers comes with an established point-of-view. T he New York Times' is that of a liberal Northeastern academic. The Wall Street Journal's is that of conservative corporate America. And USA Today's is that of Sean Penn's character in "I Am Sam" after inhaling paint fumes.
But on the whole, the re is no liberal or conservative bias? Come on, does anyone really believe that chick Ashleigh Banfield on MSNBC has an agenda that goes any further than launching her own line of eyewear?
The sad truth is, we don't object to the slanted nature o f our news because being told how to think is easier than figuring it out for ourselves. Media bias is just the latest in a long line of American labor-saving devices that began with the cotton gin and will likely end with us swaddled in our full-sensory La-Z boys, while a holographic Wolf Blitzer gnome dances on your man-breasts and yips, "Bad stuff happened to other people in the world today, but not to you, Pumpkin. That's the news. Have another bear claw."
Let's be honest with ourselves. Yo u want the truth? You can't stay awake for the truth. We want police chases, mudslides, and world leaders caught on tape having sex with their daughter's piano teacher. We don't give an embryonic rat's ass about Enron, the Middle East, or the new Campaign Finance Reform bill because it's way too complicated and depressing. When we come home from a hard day at the office, all we want is to kick our feet up on the coffee table, pop open a cold one, turn on the television, and be reassured that everyone in the world is more fucked up than you are, especially the people reporting on it.
Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.